Prevent Fire Blight Now!
March 10, 2015
It’s that time of year again when devastating diseases like fire blight rear their ugly heads. Fire blight can quickly kill your blooming pear trees if you aren’t proactive. With our mild winter and wet weather, this is the prime environment for fire blight to make an appearance.
What is Fire Blight? Fire blight is a bacterial disease caused by the pathogen Erwinia amylovora, that mostly affects pears and related species. It is incredibly difficult to prevent completely, as it is spread by honeybees, insects, birds, wind and rain. While it often infects plants through the flowers, it can also infect trees through injured leaves and bark.
How do you know if your pear tree has fire blight? You’ll first notice the leaves at the ends of branches and the branches themselves turn almost black. Growth is shrunken and cracked, as if your tree has been burned by fire. The disease will then begin to move downwards towards the root system. If your trees are over-pruned or over-fertilized with synthetic Nitrogen fertilizers, such as the ones used on lawns, they could be more susceptible to fire blight.
Prevention is key! Trees can succumb very quickly to fire blight once they are infected. The disease moves through the vascular system of the tree and can overwinter in the bark. In spring, when temperatures rise, the bacteria becomes active and spreads quickly through the plant.
Once you begin to notice it in your trees, you’ll need to move quickly to have a professional care for the tree. If caught quickly enough, proper and strategic pruning can potentially slow or stop the progress of the disease. The best time for this pruning to occur is in summer or winter when the bacteria are not actively moving through the tree. Skilled arborists can also perform selective bark removal to try and stop the disease.
However, the best medicine may preventative treatments.
Because the disease spreads through the vascular system, topical spray treatments don’t work. Preservation Tree uses an environmentally friendly approach to aide in the prevention of Fire blight. We inject a treatment directly into the vascular system that acts quickly to minimize the effects of fire blight.
Remember, fire blight is a systemic bacterial disease: Topical sprays used to treat fungal diseases won't be effective on an infected tree.
If you have Bradford Pear trees, fruiting pear trees or apple trees, on your property, call us immediately for an inspection. We can evaluate if your trees need preventative treatments. If you’ve noticed that plants in your neighborhood currently have or have had fire blight, your trees will be at higher risk for infection.